20-year-old man admits to threatening multiple girls on chat apps after soliciting nudes from them
SINGAPORE: When he was 15 or 16, he started preying on underage girls, threatening to expose their nude photos or private information if they did not have sex with him.
When eventually arrested, he admitted to threatening "a lot of other girls" but could not remember how many.
The now 20-year-old recalled only that he sought nude photos of girls on applications like WhatsApp, WeChat, Telegram, Tinder and OkCupid, and threatened to circulate the photos if he did not receive more.
The offender pleaded guilty on Tuesday (Nov 2) to 10 charges of sexual penetration of a minor and criminal intimidation. Another 13 charges will be considered in sentencing.
He cannot be named as he was under 18 at the time of some of his offences.
The court heard that the man began chatting with girls since he was 15 or 16 on chat applications and would ask for nude photos of them. After obtaining them, he would ask for more photos and threaten to leak the original nudes if they did not comply.
When the offender was in Secondary 4, he began dating a 13-year-old schoolmate. In May 2018, they went to the girl's flat to have lunch and study.
They began kissing and moved on to other sexual acts including intercourse. They repeated such acts multiple times between May 2018 and November 2018, until the victim decided to end the relationship as "the sex was making her feel extremely disgusted", the prosecutor said.
She had felt "disgusted and guilty" from the first incident, but was particularly disgusted by one sex act. She wanted to end it, but did not know how to tell her boyfriend, the court heard.
When she told the accused that she wanted to break up, he replied that she was selfish and told her not to do so. When she ended the relationship, the offender told her that he would circulate a nude photo of her if she did not reconcile with him.
The victim begged him not to do so, and eventually took more nudes and sent them to the accused as she felt she had no choice. The accused continued harassing her into reconciliation, until the girl confided in her psychologist and later, her father. She filed a police report in December 2018.
THE SECOND VICTIM
The offender met his second victim, who was in Secondary 2, in April 2019 on a messaging application. When he asked her for nude photos, the girl rejected him. He then sent her a screenshot of their WhatsApp conversation, in which she said "touching herself felt comfortable".
He threatened to send this screenshot to the girl's mother if she did not send him nudes. Eventually, the girl gave in to his repeated threats.
The offender then began asking her for sex, threatening to leak her nudes. She repeatedly rejected him, telling him that her first sexual encounter had to be with someone she loved.
The offender told her they could have sex at HDB stairwells, which did not have cameras, and said the girl's mother would find out if she called the police. The girl was afraid and did not make a police report or tell her parents about it. The crimes against her were uncovered only through investigations into the other offences.
The third victim was in Secondary 4 when the offender sought her nude photos and asked her for sex. Initially, the girl sent him nude photos, but did not have time to reply him when she was having examinations.
This made the accused "paranoid and upset", the prosecutor said. The girl offered to speak to the accused over the phone to cheer him up in May 2019, but the latter wanted a video call so he could perform a sex act.
When the victim forgot to reply to the offender again as she was studying, the accused began demanding a photo of her breasts with her face included. He threatened to circulate her details and nudes. She eventually complied out of fear.
But the offender continued to ask for more nudes, and told her there would be "new rules" she had to comply with or else he would leak her photos.
Finally, the girl made a police report. The offender wound up uploading the girl's nude photos on Instagram using a public account on May 14, 2019.
He was arrested in July that year. He admitted to threatening girls using their nudes since he was 15 or 16, and told an Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist that he had difficulty managing his sexual urges.
HE WAS A SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIM HIMSELF: DEFENCE
He said he had been masturbating daily for the last 10 years and had met girls for sex in Malaysia when he was 14 to 15. He was not diagnosed with any mental disorder.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Joshua Lim called for a reformative training suitability report, pointing to how the accused had used deception against many victims.
The defence lawyer said his client was himself a victim of sexual abuse when he was young, adding that his client required sympathy and treatment more than punishment.
The judge called for reports to assess the offender's suitability for probation and reformative training. He will return to court for sentencing later this month.